What country uses a little flag with just a red border and a big blue star in the center? It is a service flag designed in 1917 that identified a family that had someone in service during the war. It was entered into the Congressional Record in September 1917, and it can only be used according to strict guidelines.

The idea expanded to a Gold Star flag for a family that lost a son or daughter during any United States war, including World War II, the Gulf War and the Vietnam War.

The flag size must be in the ratio of 10 to 19 like the United States flag, and it must be smaller and flown below, never above, the Stars and Stripes. In 2010, the Silver Star honoring those wounded in the wars was approved by the House of Representatives.

The Gold- and Blue-star mothers, wives and families have special clubs, lapel buttons, ribbons and meetings. In 1936, the last Sunday in September was declared Gold-Star Mother’s Day. There are new flags flying in windows now, and the old ones are being saved and collected as interesting war memorabilia.

I bought a poster of dogs playing poker about 30 years ago and would like to know if it has any value. It shows seven dogs sitting around a table playing poker. One dog is passing a card under the table to the dog next to him. There are no names on the poster. Is it worth anything?

The picture on your poster is called “A Friend in Need,” part of a series of sixteen anthropomorphic dog paintings by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (1844-1934) and published by Brown & Bigelow, a company in St. Paul, Minnesota.

They were commissioned for a 1903 advertising campaign for cigars. Nine of the paintings pictured dogs in a poker game, and collectors often call the paintings “Dogs Playing Poker.”

The paintings were reproduced on posters, prints, calendars and other items. This painting of the two dogs cheating at poker is the most popular in the series.

An original painting would sell for a lot of money, but prints are common and can sell for $10 or less. A pair of the paintings sold at auction for over $590,000 a few years ago.

Current Prices

Vase, applied yellow flowers, ruffled rim, pink to white, Stevens & Williams, 9 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches, $60.

Sundial, armillary, bronze, ringed sphere, arrow, Roman numerals, pedestal, c. 1910, 10 x 7 inches, $140.

Telephone, S.H. Crouch, candlestick shape, intercom, auto dial, brass case, Bakelite horn, c. 1915, $330.

Art glass perfume bottle, four colors, diagonal stripes, latticinio, purple, green, blue, white, c. 1875, 5 1/2 inches, $3,125.

Tip: Use coasters under glasses and flower vases on marble-topped tables. Marble can stain easily.

For more collecting news, tips and resources, visit www.Kovels.com. © 2019 King Features Synd., Inc.

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